Summary:

There’s another mobile social network in the works…Chatworld is aimed at kids around the globe, and uses patented technology to protect ki…

There’s another mobile social network in the works…Chatworld is aimed at kids around the globe, and uses patented technology to protect kids from improper and hurtful messaging. The big thing about Chatworld is that it aims to be global by translating messages on the fly. So a kid from Spain can talk to a kid in Japan and the messages are translated into their own language. The network has forums (an expert that gives their learning to many) and discussion groups (which is everybody), so I think translating is not going to be an easy task. I’ve never seen a very good automatic translation engine, but mobile has the benefit that the sentences are usually short and simple. Chatworld assured me that “txtspk” was taken into account with the translations…
I like the idea of kids being able to communicate with other kids from other countries, with other languages and other cultures. I think it will have a positive impact, especially since “hurtful messaging” will be blocked. The service will cost the equivalent of US$10 per month, so it’s largely confined to the wealthier parts of the world at the moment, but Chatworld hopes to sign enough people to be able to subsidize the service in the less developed parts of the world — where mobiles will likely be the most commmon digital communication device anyway.
The service will launch in private alpha in september, then private beta (for mass use, up to 60 million users) and finally public beta, where for 90 days kids can test out the service for free. First up with Europe, Asia and then the US.
I have no idea whether this will be successful — it’s generally accepted that mobile social networking will be huge in some form, but no-ones really sure exactly what that form will be. Personally, I like the international approach…

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